A good cast iron skillet is one of those almost magic pieces of cooking equipment that can make a huge difference in the kitchen. Cast iron distributes heat evenly, so it’s perfect for recipes where you want the food to develop a beautiful brown crust, like this best-ever cast iron skillet cornbread recipe.
I’ve had my cast iron skillet since my daughter and FoodLove blogging partner Allison was a baby, and since Allison is a mother herself now, you can tell that’s been a while. If you take good care of your cast iron skillet, it will last longer than you will. Some people have cast iron skillets handed down through the generations that are 100 years old or more.
This best-ever cast iron skillet cornbread recipe is adapted from the famous Z’Tejas skillet cornbread recipe. If you’ve ever eaten at Z’Tejas Southwestern Grill, you know they bring a skillet of amazing hot cornbread to every table. Unfortunately, the Z’Tejas in my town closed, but not before they gave me their cornbread recipe! I changed the recipe a bit to make it simpler.
Making this cornbread is a little more complicated than making cornbread from a mix, but it’s absolutely worth it. To start, generously grease a 10-inch cast iron skillet with Crisco or other vegetable shortening. I try to avoid shortening, but I use it for a few things, like pie crusts and greasing baking pans. If you don’t have shortening, you can use butter or cooking spray. Place a baking rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, combine yellow cornmeal, all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt with a whisk. In another bowl, combine buttermilk, beaten eggs, creamed corn, and melted butter. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula just until combined. Don’t overmix, because this will make the cornbread tough.
I have a couple of ingredient tips for this recipe. The recipe calls for half a can of creamed corn, so you can save the other half in the freezer for the next time you make cornbread. If you have leftover buttermilk, you can also save that in the freezer. Freezing buttermilk will change the texture, but that doesn’t make any difference when using it in baked recipes.
I usually have a lot of handy ingredient odds and ends in the freezer, labeled with blue painter’s tape and a Sharpie. I always keep blue painter’s tape and a Sharpie in a kitchen drawer for labeling food containers. Of course, if you have toddlers or preschoolers, you might not want to keep Sharpies in the house at all!
Plastic bags and sturdy plastic containers are great for freezing leftover ingredients, but so are Mason jars:
You might think glass jars would crack in the freezer, but that’s only happened to me once. I’ve had much worse luck with plastic containers that become brittle and crack when frozen.
Once the cornbread batter is mixed, pour it into the prepared cast iron skillet:
Bake your cast iron skillet cornbread at 400 degrees for 22-25 minutes. You can tell it’s done if the top is browned and springs back when pressed lightly in the center. You can also tell it’s done if a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few cooked crumbs clinging to it (in other words, without wet batter clinging to it).
So many cornbread recipes are disappointing – they’re too dry, too crumbly, or too sweet. This cast iron skillet cornbread is moist, with a beautiful brown crust. It’s subtly sweet, and holds together without being tough. It really is the best ever!
Best Ever Cast Iron Skillet Cornbread
- Vegetable shortening butter or cooking spray, for greasing the pan
- 1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 3 eggs beaten
- 3/4 cup creamed corn
- 6 tablespoons butter melted
- Generously grease a 10-inch cast iron skillet with vegetable shortening. If you don't have vegetable shortening, you can substitute butter or cooking spray. Place a baking rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, creamed corn and melted butter.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir with a wooden spoon just until combined. Avoid overmixing.
- Pour the batter into the prepared skillet.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until the top of the cornbread is browned and springs back when touched lightly in the center. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean or with only a few cooked crumbs clinging to it.